12/06/2017 11:52 BST | Updated 12/06/2017 11:52 BST

Terrorism Is The Enemy Of Britons Of All Faiths


We are in the holy month of Ramadan. For millions of Muslims that means fasting, prayer and rejoicing in our faith. Yet for a second year, Daesh has marked this month with mass murder and bloodshed. This time, they have brought their horror to the streets of London.

In recent weeks, I have stood with other faith leaders at Westminster Bridge and in central Manchester to mourn those slain by Daesh in senseless attacks. Teenagers killed at a pop concert and tourists enjoying the sights. Now the terrorists have unleashed their horror on friends and colleagues enjoying a Saturday night by the river Thames.

This is how Ramadan is marked by the terrorists. Last year, they openly boasted of the number of people killed and maimed during the holy month around the world. Dhaka, Istanbul and Baghdad saw unspeakable atrocities and Daesh even exploded a bomb near Prophet's Mosque in Madinah killing four people.

Then there was also the hideous massacre of 49 people in a night club in Orlando and the cold-blooded murder of a police officer in Magnanville, France. This year has seen a bomb explosion at an ice cream parlour in the Iraqi capital killing families breaking the Ramadan fast. It's hard to imagine the brutal mindset that would consider committing such an act.

Around the world, people of all faiths have been slaughtered by Daesh. The objective is to create a division between Muslims and non-Muslims. They strive for a thoroughly polarised society where suspicion and hatred would be the norm. In this, they are assisted by the extreme Right. Both seem to be locked in a symbiotic relationship, supporting each other's arguments.

It suits both Daesh inspired terrorists and extreme Right demagogues to see Muslims demonised. Daesh wants to create conditions for Muslims that are so intolerable that they believe it would make their so called "Islamic state" an attractive option. The extreme Right dreams of its "clash of civilisations", a fantasy replay of the medieval crusades. All of us must reject these two bleak and dystopian alternatives.

The real dichotomy is between terrorists on the one side and the rest of society on the other. Anything less is a victory for the terrorists. If we are going to defeat Daesh, we have to stand together as a nation. That's why inter-faith work is so essential. By reaching out to Jews, Christians, Sikhs and Hindus, we are confounding the terrorists. The more unity we display, the more futile their violence becomes.

The only way we can understand why they do what they do - is to grasp this essential fact. They are trying to drive a wedge between us. It's their overriding objective. The more provocative and blood soaked the act, the more likely that division will be fostered. That's why we must continue to react to terrorist attacks with unity and resilience.

It's not going to be easy. Daesh will do everything in its power to test our strength as a society. By striking at teenage girls at a pop concert, the terrorists are seeking to provoke us. They want to wound all of us at the deepest psychological level. Success is measured by the degree of division that results.

This is a twisted strategy. But then what can you expect from a terrorist group that committed genocide, mass rape, murder and theft in Syria and Iraq? Daesh brutalised those it ruled over in Mosul and Raqqa. It sold women as slaves and taught children how to perform executions. This is a group with no moral core, no conscience, no sense of regret. Power is its only driver.

Now that it sees its grip loosening on the territory it illegally seized in Iraq and Syria, it's bringing death to the streets of London and Manchester. It is mestasising like a cancer across Europe. Using social media, it's preying on vulnerable and disaffected individuals as agents of destruction and death.

I have family in Iraq and know how that country has suffered beyond endurance at the hands of Daesh. In the same way that my family, and friends have resisted this scum in Iraq, I will resist them here. In this struggle, I will link arms with imams, rabbis and priests. People of genuine faith and love must find the inner strength to build a wall that Daesh cannot penetrate.